Monday, June 23, 2008

Diptych #10, Dead Presidents #40, Scenes from a Life #19

Top: President John F. Kennedy and Air Force Union of Staff General Curtis LeMay point at a fireworks display staged for the president. (May 4, 1962)

Bottom: Original caption: Swapping his Air Force uniform for a bright sport shirt, General Curtis LeMay, Head of the U. S. Strategic Air Command, sharpens his shooting eye with some target practice at the Marine Base at Quantico, Virginia. LeMay sandwiched in the shooting session during the three-day conference on Defense Matters, at the base. (June 17, 1957)

Friday, June 20, 2008

Archaeology of the Poster #7

Harry Kellar unleashes Pandora's Box (c. 1894)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

In Memoriam #11, Cinema #38

Cyd Charisse


Sequence from Party Girl d: Nicholas Ray (1958)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Scenes from a Life #18, Age of Print #8, The Automobile #16

The Los Angeles Times reports the death of Ernie Kovacs (January 13, 1962)

Monday, June 16, 2008

Architecture #30, Food #12

To me, and to all the cultivated people, ornament does not increase the pleasures of life. If I want to eat a piece of gingerbread I will choose one that is completely plain and not a piece which represents a baby in arms of a horserider, a piece which is covered over and over again with decoration. The man of the fifteenth century would not understand me. But modern people will. The supporter of ornament believes that the urge for simplicity is equivalent to self-denial. No, dear professor from the College of Applied Arts, I am not denying myself! To me, it tastes better this way. The dishes of the past centuries which used decoration make the peacocks, pheasants and lobsters appear more appetizing produce the opposite effect on me. I look on such a culinary display with horror when I think of having to eat these stuffed animal corpses. I eat roast beef.

Adolf Loos, “Ornament and Crime” (1908)

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Age of Print #7, Architecture #29

Frontispiece, Pioneers of the Modern Movement (Faber & Faber, 1936)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Art #17, Order of the Universe #13

No critic of experience will return to a discussion of the terms “romanticism” and “classicism” with anything but extreme reluctance; no subject has provoked so much but extreme resistance; no subject has provoked so much weary logomachy since the Scholastics argued themselves out on the question of nominalism. I only take up the discussion again (eating my own words in the process) because I think that Surrealism has settled it. So long as romanticism and classicism were considered as alternative attitudes, rival camps, professions of faith, an interminable struggle was in prospect, with the critics as profiteers. But what in effect Surrealism claims to do is resolve the conflict—not, as I formerly hoped, by establishing a synthesis which I was prepared to call “reason” or “humanism”—but by liquidating classicism, by showing its complete irrelevance, its anaesthetic effect, its contradiction of the creative impulse. Classicism, let it be stated without further preface, represents for us now, and has always represented, the forces of oppression. Classicism is the intellectual counterpart of political tyranny. It was so in the ancient world and in the medieval empires; it was renewed to express the dictatorships of the Renaissance and has ever since been the official creed of capitalism. Wherever the blood of martyrs stains the ground, there you will find a doric column or perhaps a statue of Minerva.

Herbert Read, introduction, Surrealism (1936)